"Thistledown" is a mix of abstract sounds and oddball melodic sparring, somewhat sweetened by the occasional song-like refrain. There is much that is jagged and spiky and unforgiving, like the coarsest of thistles, but there is also music that has a soft and ethereal delicacy, like down, ready to blow away with the slightest puff. There are eight short improvised works. The three play together for fun, allowing themselves little ‘forbidden’ treats, such as short truncated bursts of jazz phraseology, tiny fragments of pop, and other similar ‘lapses of taste’. The result is a kind of strangulated lyricism permeated by sudden darting and abrupt changes of direction. The album makes no attempt to pursue a rigorous agenda of pushing forward the ‘boundaries of new music’, but there is a common sensibility at work, regulating the improvisational decision making process.
--- Mayne, O’Sullivan and Taylor are part of London’s vibrant free improvisation scene. They have each worked and performed with a wide variety of other musicians, including Eddie Prevost (AMM), Adam Bohman, John Bissett, Shabaka Hutchins and many others. Individually they have performed at many of the city’s leading improvisation venues, such as the Vortex, Café Oto, Battersea Arts Centre, the ‘Freedom of the city’ festival (programmed by Evan Parker amongst others), in addition to playing outside the UK in Poland and Hungary. These are their first offerings in this grouping, recorded over a number of sessions in the summer and autumn of 2008, at Goldsmiths College, London.